February 23, 2006

South Dakota & Abortion

South Dakota has jumped on the opportunity to all but ban abortion by criminalizing it (i.e., by giving doctors who perform an abortion a prison sentence) except in instances where it is necessary to save the mother's life. Both houses of the legislature passed the law, which will now go into effect July 1 since the Governor signed it. While such a law seems to stand in the face of existing precedent, with Sandra D. gone, and proponents of felling Roe hoping that 85 year old Justice Breyer will retire, things might move quickly so it's worthwhile keeping an eye on these developments. NOW's page on reproductive rights in light of changes at the U. S. Supreme Court is worth a look.

All of this has direct implications for criminology since we're basically talking about attempts to recreate a felony offense after its vindication over three decades ago with Roe. Who would have ever thought the field would have to consider re-examining that older literature documenting the horrific consequences of criminalization?

Moreover, we're once again seeing the rise of forced childbirth in America. How many children and women who are raped want to have their rapist's child? Now South Dakota has made their choice for them: the rape victim is forced to have her rapist's child. In other words, giving birth to a rapist's child is now a legal requirement!

For a current look at this problem today in Mexico see the report by the Human Rights Group of New York, which conducted a study available online entitled, "The Second Assault: Obstructing Access to Legal Abortion in Mexico," by Marianne Mollmann. This study deals with the specific topic of girls and women who try to get abortions after they are impregnated by their rapist.

Posted by jackson at February 23, 2006 09:04 AM